Living in the Dark (but not so cold)

I’m back from a short vacation in southern California, most of which was unrelated to astronomy, but we spent a couple of days in Borrego Springs, which is a designated Dark Sky Community.  It’s also in the middle of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which recently became a Dark Sky Park.  Using what is called a Sky Quality Meter (I call it a “dark meter” – sort of the opposite of a light meter) I got readings of 21.1 to 21.3 around town.  That’s close to the darkness at most of the dark sky sites I go to in the […]

Test Results

I was able to capture some test images last night with the Star71 scope and Canon EOS 6D camera.  These were all unguided captures of 30 seconds duration, manually focused using live view mode.  I got 4 shots of each target and also captured 4 dark frames at each ISO setting (3200 for Orion and 12,800 for M103).  I averaged the dark frames and subtracted them from each light frame, then averaged the light frames (without adjusting their alignment).  Note that the “fog” from light pollution brought the black level up to almost 50%, higher than it should be, and […]

Orion Nebula (M42)

Buy a Print This was one of the first of my astro-photos that I was happy with – about 3 years after I started – and it is still my favorite target. It was captured in late September of 2008, very late at night. The problem with Orion (for those of us living in the northern parts of Earth) is that it is never visible in the summer nights. In late summer it comes up in the east just before sunrise and by spring it sets in the west shortly after sunset. So it’s a great sight in the winter […]